Caleidoscope Academy

Recognise cultural patterns of behaviour

What we do

Caleidoscope Academy aims to increase the effectiveness of team members and leaders in an intercultural context. We do this by helping you to recognise and understand cultural patterns, both in yourself and in others.

Cultural patterns are often underestimated as a factor influencing behaviour at work. Thinking we are dealing with a skills related issue, we offer our 'difficult' team members help in changing their behavior to fit our expectations. We send them to management courses to become the leader we want them to be. We send them to communication courses to help them become more assertive. We coach them, we give feedback, we reward and punish where we see fit, and it all doesn’t help.  

Instead of wasting time and money and remaining frustrated, we could also work on our cultural intelligence; by becoming more aware of our own biases, culturally affected interpretations, perceptions, thoughts and actions. By learning how other people may perceive differently, and how this influences their behavior and communication, we can open ourselves to new interpretations. We can look at ourselves from different perspectives, and we can tap into the strengths of team members with different cultural preferences.

Only then can we start to appreciate and use differences as an advantage.

Our approach to leading culturally diverse teams:

a humanistic perspective

homo florens

Defining cultural diversity

We define cultural diversity as:

“inclusive of but not limited to interaction across [people from different] national cultures, since much recent scholarship expands the term to ethnic, gender, linguistic, socioeconomic, generational, religious, and other aspects of culture that do not align neatly with national borders”.

Source: Akdere, M. and Acheson, K. (2022). Effective leadership across cultures. Achieving intercultural excellence. Chapter 13 in: Stolz, I. and Oldenziel Scherrer, S. (Eds). International Leadership. Effecting success across borders in a boundaryless world. Springer Gabler, Germany. Quote from p. 279.


The 7 pillars of the humanistic ethos

The pillars of humanistic ethos serve as guidelines for all that we do. We take a holistic view on the human person, respect the uniqueness of each person, protect and promote human dignity, view human beings as in permanent development towards flourishing, emphasize individual freedom and responsibility to the social word, respect the worth and interconnectedness of the entire living ecosystem and recognize human beings as self-transcending meaning seeking beings.

Source: Melé, D. (2016). Understanding Humanistic Management. Humanistic Management Journal, 1, 35-55.

Our guiding principles

homo florens

We aim to flourish in a flourishing world

We are interconnected, with each other and with nature. 

We are all equal in our shared humanity


A holistic view

We do not isolate any aspect of the human person to explain behavior. It is not just our personality, our experiences, our relations, our culture, our gender or our age that causes behavior, it's always a combination of all these things, and many other influences. We believe people act and interact because we are unique, because we are part of several social and cultural groups, and we are all part of the human species. Understanding cultural patterns can help understand ourselves and others better, but it can never predict behavioral outcomes.

homo florens

Meet homo florens

The way we look at human nature determines how we organize and lead. We operate in a system in which homo economicus has become the norm. But this is not an accurate representation of human nature. We are not just selfish wealth maximizers. People are more complex than that. In the humanistic view of human nature, (wo)man is a holistic being, a being with dignity, and a need for connection and a sense of meaning. This view leads to a different way of leading and organizing, aiming to create wellbeing rather than wealth, putting dignity at the core of leadership practice.

Human dignity can be either ignored, respected, protected and promoted. In order to flourish, people need to feel dignified in three ways: first, human dignity needs to be protected based on a shared humanity in which we are all equal. Second, human dignity needs to be respected in its various forms, as people are free to choose and express their social and cultural value patterns. Third, human dignity can be promoted through love and care for ourselves and others inviting personal growth and realization. 

"The purpose of business is to optimize collective value without violating human dignity in the past, present or future."

Source: Donaldson, T., Walsh, J.P. (2015). Towards a theory of business. Research in Organizational Behavior 35 (2015) 181–207


Value orientations

The Model of Freedom® helps create awareness of and appreciation for different cultural value patterns.

Value orientations differ. We are free to find our own balance, our own cultural pattern. People everywhere in the world recognise the different orientations. However, most of us live in a socio-cultural context that focusses quite specifically on one or maybe two, and ‘ignores’ the other two. They become alien to us, we don’t really get them, we don’t need them in our context.  

We all recognize the four main orientations. Yet cultural patterns differ between groups, and between individuals. It helps to be aware of your own pattern, in order to learn to appreciate those of others.

Culturally diverse teams have great potential, yet often struggle with cultural tensions. Leading culturally diverse teams is about transforming such tensions into opportunities by facilitating cultural learning.

What leaders can do:

Protect human dignity through radical inclusivity;

Show awareness and appreciation for the variety of cultural patterns present;

Promote human dignity by creating a team culture that brings out the best in people.


About Danaë Huijser

Nice to meet you! I am a business psychologist, specialised in intercultural organisational behaviour. I have 15 years of experience as a trainer and coach in multinationals as lead consultant and owner of CMC, Culture & Management Consulting.  I founded Caleidoscope Academy during the COVID19 pandemic as an online learning solution, offering e-learning and virtual coaching to complement our in-company training and consulting projects.

I was born in France, studied in the US, worked in the Carribean, Brazil and  Portugal, and traveled the world throughout my life. Currently, I live in the Netherlands, with my husband and three children. I have a master in Business Psychology and in International Business. 

I am fascinated by what drives people; how do people act, think and perceive, make choices and judgements. (Sub)cultures – from gangs to families, from gender to generation, from businesses to societies - have always interested me. I am curious about their specific ways of giving meaning to the world, of cooperating, communicating, coexisting, of dealing with power, with rules, with autonomy and belonging, with freedom and security.

Members of different (sub) cultures do not always find it easy to work together. Differences in ideas and perceptions can make collaboration difficult. Nowadays we all work with people from other (sub) cultures. So we always work across borders, which makes our work fun, exciting and challenging, but sometimes difficult, energy-consuming and frustrating. In my work as a trainer and coach I help people to deal with these differences, to recognize them, acknowledge them and use them in a positive way.